Evans, Warren Felt (1817–1889)
Warren Felt Evans, Swedenborgian minister and early practitioner
of mind cure, was born December 23, 1817, at Rockingham,
Vermont. He attended Dartmouth College but left
after his junior year (1840) to become a Methodist minister. He
served a number of different congregations in New England
during the next 24 years. During these years he also began to
read widely in the writings of seer Emanuel Swedenborg, and
in 1863, he affiliated with the Church of the New Jerusalem. He
formally left the Methodist Episcopal Church the following
year.
At the time he was changing denominations, he was also experiencing
some ill health described as ‘‘a nervous affection,
complicated by a chronic disorder.’’ He heard of healer
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby and visited Quimby in Maine.
Under Quimby’s care he experienced a healing and adopted
some of Quimby’s ideas. He also became convinced that he
could perform mental healing himself. He began work in
Claremont, New Hampshire, later moved to Boston, Massachusetts,
and in 1869 settled in Salisbury, a Boston suburb, where
he would receive patients for the next twenty years.
In 1869 Evans also published his first book, The Mental Cure,
an important work for several reasons. It introduced Quimby’s
ideas to the rest of world, Quimby having never published his
writings. It was the first book in the field of mental healing and
would become very popular as the century progressed. It would
also provide a context for the publication of the writings of
Mary Baker Eddy, whose books on healing would appear in
the next decade.
Evans wrote five other books Mental Medicine (1873), Soul
and Body (1876), The Divine Law of Cure (1881), The Primitive
Mind Cure (1885), and Esoteric Christianity and Mental Therapeutics
(1886). As his thought matured, Evans took Quimby’s healing
practice into the Swedenborgian theology that dominated
his thought. In the end he created a pantheistic system that
provided a context for his healing work. His thought would
later be seen as a precursor of New Thought metaphysics. He
died in Salisbury on September 4, 1889.
Sources
Evans, Warren Felt. The Divine Law of Cure. Boston H. H.
Carter, 1881.
———. Esoteric Christianity and Mental Therapeutics. Boston
H. H. Carter & Karick, 1886.
———. The Mental Cure. Boston Colby & Rich, 1869.
———. Mental Medicine. Boston H. H. Carter, 1873.
———. The Primitive Mind Cure. Boston H. H. Carter &
Karrick, 1885.
———. Soul and Body. Boston H. H. Carter, 1876.
Leonard, William J. The Pioneer Apostle of Mental Science A
Sketch of the Life and Work of Rev. Warren Felt Evans, M.D. N.p.
The Author, n.d.
Teahan, John F. ‘‘Warren Felt Evans and Mental Healing
Romantic Idealism and Practical Metaphysics in NineteenthCentury
America.’’ Church History 48, no. 1 (March 1979)
63–80.

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